Laziza Aziza

Laziza is Arabic for delicious

Aziza is the Michelin-starred Moroccan-Californiafied restaurant opened by Iron Chef winner, Mourad Lahlou

It is also where Marta, Emily, and I went out to celebrate a (two days early) birthday dinner

***

Aziza is not like most Moroccan restaurants you see in the States. Most typical Moroccan restaurants are elaborately decorated with floor cushions and low tables where multiple courses consisting of Harira (lentil soup), salata (Moroccan salad), Pastilla (chicken in phyllo dough with cinnamon/powdered sugar) and plates of couscous tagines, lamb shanks, and succulent preserved lemon are laid out to be shared (and eaten with the hands of course). There is no subpar belly dancer or rose water rinse to get the scent of harissa out of your fingers

Instead, this is an upscale California-fied restaurant where the dishes are elaborately assembled, looking nothing like your expectations, yet still containing the robust flavours of Moroccan food

A close family friend of ours (from Morocco) knows Mourad Lahlou personally and has been telling us about Aziza for years and the various pinnacles of success this talented chef has reached between Iron Chef, a PBS programme, a book deal, and most recently a Michelin star for 2010 and 2011.

In other words, a perfect choice for a pre-birthday dinner

Parking lot pics: Emily and Marta

 I insisted on us documenting ourselves with some photos despite the lack of aesthetic appeal in this particular Richmond district parking lot

Everything above “Cauliflower” is an appetizer, everything below (and including) is an entree

We decided to start with flatbread and spreads for the table

Grilled flatbreads with smoked eggplant, yoghurt-dill, and piquillo pepper/pine nut spreads

This was absolutely divine- the bread had a fresh chew, yet possessed that charred griddled flavour which perfectly complimented the three delicious spreads

As for main courses:

Emily: Cauliflower (Couscous, almond, castelvetrano, harissa)

This came with an accompanying bowl of couscous (the photo came out blurry so I decided to omit it), it was absolutely stunning- look at that foam, the slivers of almonds and roasted cauliflower. Plus the couscous was fluffy and definitely freshly made- what a lot of people don’t realise is that couscous is NOT a grain, but little rolled balls of semolina, so it is quite an arduous task to make it fresh

Marta: Halibut (Almond, cabbage, padron pepper, tomato)

Look at how ADORABLE those little shriveled padron peppers are! Those are the almonds encrusting the filet, a tomato broth, and the cabbage whipped up into a delicious puree-like substance

Soft and succulent, the way a regal filet of halibut should be

Me: Chicken (Tomato+preserved lemon marmalade, bean, eggplant)

Look at those moist, succulent discs of poulet, and the crunchy "spring roll" tube of Moroccan tomato tapenade.

This dish was phenomenal! The eggplant was in the form of a spread and the array of vegetables were so full of Moroccan tastes and flavours, yet everything was assembled in such an ‘haute couture’ arrangement

***

After the entrees, our very knowledgeable and friendly waiter brought us the dessert menu, and unfortunately we all feigned fullness and asked for the bill

I was a little confused however when he started bringing more silverware and said to me, “I know you weren’t serious when you said no to dessert.”

Mindreader.

Or perhaps the fact that I slipped at the beginning of the meal that this was my birthday dinner

And they brought me a birthday cake! Chocolate ganache, cocoa nib, chicory cream, licorice root ice cream, and date.

 And let me just say this is the dessert I WOULD have chosen anyways!

The ganache was amazing...best part about birthday week is having a different type of chocolate cake every night

Absolutely amazing…and the third night in a row this week of having a different form of chocolate cake (hey, it’s BIRTHDAY WEEK!)

I was admittedly a bit sceptical about licorice root ice cream since I’m not a fan of licorice taste in my desserts, but it was surprisingly subtle and a perfect compliment to the innovative cake rendition

This is what I call stopping when you're full...even if it's a fingernail-sized morsel of ganache left

But that wasn’t even the conclusion to the meal, this was:

Caramel sea salt chocolates...had a rice krispy-like chewy texture at the bottom

BEST way to conclude a fantastic meal

Verdict: I am obsessed with Aziza, not only is the food OUTSTANDING and worthy of it’s Michelin star, but the service is impeccable and the atmosphere lacking any semblance of being ‘uptight’ (and the restroom has a dressing table/boudoir in it)!

I will most definitely be back!

Aziza on Urbanspoon

Have you ever had Moroccan food?

What’s the most innovative rendition of chocolate cake you’ve ever had?

About these ads

19 thoughts on “Laziza Aziza

  1. The caramel sea salt chocolates look amazing! I do like Moroccan lentil dishes. Hmmm… probs this fudgy flourless chocolate cake with powdered sugar, raspberries, whipped cream, and pop rocks inside that I had at this lovely dessert place during the best date I’ve ever had.

    Oh, and way to look like a supermodel! I don’t know why, but for some reason your face looks just like Ashley Olsen’s from her prettier days to me…and cute outfit, by the way.

    • They tasted amazing as well!
      Thank you so much…haha you are far too sweet…in reality I’m only about 5’2 but the heels added some height! Oh and the funniest thing is that someone just the other day told me I look like a brown Olsen sister?! I figured it was because I had been wearing huge sunglasses and a lot of really baggy weird clothes, but thanks :)

  2. Sara, your shoes are fantastic – what are they? Also I wish you’d do more outfit posts. And early birthday wishes to you!

    • Kiitos Cecily! Believe it or not they are Jessica Simpson…got them at a Nordstrom sale almost a year ago for $45! And yeahhh I’ll try to do more outfit posts, I always feel awkward asking people to photograph me or using self-timer, but I’ll try and get creative ;)

  3. Girl, LOVE those heels!!! How do you walk in them? I know I’ll break a nose if I had those on!

    I’ve had Moroccan food before and loved it, but I haven’t had it enough. Your chicken dish looks crazy good. Craving Moroccan spring rolls now!

    • Haha I CAN’T walk in them…a few months ago I did a “raccoon attack” post where I had fallen, ripped my tights and had severely bloody knees and the culprit were those heels (I only wore them because I was literally walking 1/4 of a block from parking space to restaurant)
      Yes the spring roll thing was definitely an innovative addition! Moroccan food is delicious!

  4. Ummm I’m stlil trying to understand how your hair is “crunchy/fried”??? That description is hilarious, but I still don’t see it!

    Anyways,
    1. Love the clothes
    2. Always wanted to try Morrocan food
    3. Love the choice of dessert. Since you were going to order that one anyways…

  5. Girl I love you style! Love love love Moroccan food!! Everything looks so delicious, and kudos to the restaurants with the sea salt caramel choc combinations: now that’s innovative for a restaurant (normally the options are just milk or dark!)

  6. —This meal is like an ART show.
    Stunning presentation.
    “Grilled flatbreads with smoked eggplant, yoghurt-dill, and piquillo pepper/pine nut spreads”
    Seriously, I could eat that Every. Single. Day. & Night.
    Happy Birthday :) !!

  7. I wishhh I could wear heels like that, you look fantastic in them! But I am almost 6 feet tall and would be a giant with shoes on of that height haha
    And your meal looks gorgeous, you are so talented :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s